Skateboarding and Open Source Communities

I have been skateboarding since 1986.  I love it.  I cannot get it out of my blood.  I still skate today regularly even after years of injuries: broken toe, broken thumb, broken clavicle, multiple ripped ligaments…the list goes on.  This is more than dedication, skating it is a life-morphing adrenaline rush that can forever change you.  I also love computers and software development and have been doing that since 1990.  Rodney Mullen is one of the most influential skateboarders in skateboarding.  You may not have heard about him, but this guy is amazing.  He won literally every competition in freestyle skateboarding he ever competed in.  He basically invented the entire category of freestyle skateboarding.  He defined a singular work ethic in skateboarding that many in skateboarding couldn’t groc at the time skating upwards of 9 hours a day.  But he didn’t stop there.  He started a company and made it hugely successful and then sold it.

Sound familiar?  This is what software developers and folks like us do in Silicon Valley all the time.  Imagine my joy when one of my idols was able to articulate the similarities between the skateboarding community and the open source tech community.  Recently, Rodney Mullen was a speaker at Ted Talk at the USC campus in LA.  At the talk Mullen pointed out the importance of creativity and innovation in skateboarding.  He says the greater the contribution to the community, the greater the response and extension by the community.  Man does this ever hit home.  He makes the example of the Ollie and how that singular trick development and innovation spawned an entire new set of skateboarding tricks that have come to define the sport.

The comparison to the open source community within the tech world has the same multiplier effect like in skateboarding.  Look at the amazing decisions to make software like Linux, Apache, Hadoop, and OpenStack available to the community.  The community responds in kind with continuous advancements and ongoing maintenance.  We all benefit.  So while you may want to do a startup to be successful (and to be sure skateboarders invent tricks to be successul too) the joy and benefit of your creativity to the open source community  is also a worthy reward.  I say this also to draw your attention to the incredible work ethic of many skateboarders and the innovative community they foster.  Our two communities have many similarities.

See the Ted Talk here.

OpenStack Quantum Network Design

I can never seem to get enough OpenStack networking information.  I have been collecting various notes in Evernote for 2 years now on OpenStack networking.  Having built and destroyed OpenStack Diablo, Essex, Folsom, and now Grizzly at Gap with much pain, I decided to share my notes in a consolidated format.  My hope is this will help make OpenStack Quantum network design more tenable for folks trying to be planful with their network design and OpenStack.  You can see the full presentation embedded from scribd below or you can access it here.

View this document on Scribd

Becoming Coruscant?

The June issue of The Economist has a lead article titled “Towards the end of poverty.”  Among the key points made in the article is that gradually the world is making progress toward raising a defined minimum level of living wages to something more in line with developed countries.  As more countries join the global community and take part in the benefits of developed economies, everyone rises.  Now, there are many more granular, micro-level arguments that can be made about widening gaps between the more wealthy and middle-class, but the point of the article was that those in the world with living conditions that were extreme poverty are decreasing.

This got me thinking:  how long will it be before “developing” countries become “developed” and overall living conditions begin to approach those of current and long-time developed ones?  What would this new fully developed world look like?  How would a global citizenry all wanting and needing similar “developed” things function?  Think about it.  In the past 15 years China has grown in power and stature incredibly and (though opinions rightfully vary per issue) its citizens have benefitted along with this growth.  More middle-class, less poverty (overall), increased numbers of educated, and increased life expectancy levels in general (baring pollution issues) .  Similar exploding growth is happening in India with Africa likely to be next.  So, how many places on earth in 2013 are left that are considered “developing”?  Interestingly, there is not an official index from the UN (need to validate this), but there are some established viewpoints that get published from the World Bank and the IMF.  I found some here from Oxford University that says there are ~35-60 depending on who is reporting.  So, if all these countries took say twice as long as China (perhaps~ 30+ years) we might have a large global middle class by maybe 2050?

Combine this with the incredible advances in technology and medicine we have made in the past 30 years and you have the making of some of these Hollywood visions of the future like the self driving cars in Minority Report and ever larger cities that form interstate sized connecting metropolises.  Fast forward even farther and something like the full planet city of Coruscant in the Star Wars series doesn’t seem all that much of a fantasy.  The interesting thing to ponder is not so much the technology advancements but the globally touching life we all might lead in such a future.  I guess the question remains:  what does this future world look like when everyone becomes developed?  What type of interactions will we all have?  How will trade be done?  How will businesses remain competitive when wages are no longer arbitraged by going to a developing nation?  Could earth become one big developed planet?